With Commander Legends releasing, the format is about to see a shakeup arguably bigger than any in its relatively short history. This week, Phillip York and FromTheShire are doing a card-by-card review of the new set and what the new cards mean for Commander. Today we’re continuing our review by looking at the new Green cards in the set.
If you missed Part 5 of our review yesterday looking at the Red cards in the set, you can find it here.
Phillip: I think this is the only one of the familiars that’s all that interesting, but then of course this one costs 4. Still indestructible is valuable, it means you can attack with virtual impunity. I would actually say this most likely place you’d see this card is in the 99 for some kind of hard hitting deck.
FromTheShire: In a vacuum, a 4/4 indestructible on your turn isn’t particularly interesting. Your best bet is pairing Anara with either a white or black Partner in order to gain access to board wipes so that you can sweep the board and still have your commanders out. At a first glance something like Sengir, the Dark Baron synergizes well, getting huge after the wrath and swinging in for massive amounts of commander damage. It takes quite a bit of setup to get there though, and one Swords to Plowshares will undo your entire plan.
7 for a 6/5 with reach and trample and cascade is uh, I dunno boring. Combos okay with Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty because you’ll get double cascade.
Altisaur isn’t particularly flashy, but it’s respectably sized, has reach and more importantly trample, and it keeps the cascade value train chugging along. I think this actually makes the cut in some cascade heavy decks.
So this card is actually fairly hilarious, and 4 cascades is a lot, but most of the things I can think to do with it, like search for it and put it into play miss the triggers. Run it in Imoti or some kind of ramp battlecruiser deck or a hydra deck. But it doesn’t work well with hydras because hydras are x spells so they’d come out with no tokens and just die so…
Yo dawg, we heard you liked cascading, so we put cascade on this otherwise vanilla creature so you can cascade while you cascade. My inner Timmy is so extremely down for this guy, in a deck built around cascading there’s the potential for so damn many things to suddenly spring out of your deck when you cast it. Thank goodness this is commander and you’re in green because 10 drops are no mean feat to cast.
This is a weird bad copy of Scute Swarm I guess though it could get hilariously out of control. If you have some way to leverage up it’s ability to generate copies and give oozes +1/+1 then you probably have better things to do with your time. But I suppose you could get extra turns and extra upkeeps if you want to smother people in tons of massive oozes. This is starting to sound less like a deck and more like a fetish.
Some good clean fun right here. It’s fun to think about the games where this doesn’t get answered quickly, doubling in number every turn and buffing the squad, never mind how nuts it gets with something like Doubling Season to take advantage of the token copies. It’s also worth noting that there have been a decent number of good Oozes printed in recent history like Biogenic Ooze and Ravenous Slime.
I think this court might actually be sort of playable, but 4 is too much cost for it. Would it somehow be broken at 3 or 2? I don’t know what wizards was thinking. There could’ve been some sort of weird interaction between “nobility cards” and “court cards” and something else, they could add a sub-type nobility and do all kinds of neat things but instead it’s just put a land into play or possibly a creature, but not now next turn, so you’ll almost definitely get attacked.
I’m torn on our final Court card. Many of the games I’ve played with an Exploration or Burgeoning have quickly led to not having the lands in hand to actually take advantage of the effect and I could easily see that being true here as well (nobody is letting the green deck untap as the monarch and get a free big creature.) On the other hand, green HAS been getting an awful lot of card draw recently that might actually let you keep pace….I think this likely turns out to be too much mana for an effect you can’t take full advantage of when all is said and done.
Giving everything you have hexproof is pretty strong, but this costs 7 mana, and you become the monarch. Oh well it’s conditional hexproof based on being the monarch. Frankly I’d prefer an anarcho-syndicalist commune as a system of governance rather than some weird elk. Frankly I doubt this thing has a mandate from the masses.
It makes you the monarch but green isn’t exactly struggling for card draw these days and something like Guardian Project will both draw you more and also not incentivize your opponents to bash you in the face. The hexproof is interesting because it’s all of your permanents but it’s also conditional on you holding the monarchy, and Archetype of Endurance already exists and doesn’t see much play.
Oh okay another salamander card. That costs 6. Granted it’s 7/4 with a weird conditional evasion on encore, which is probably strong, usually, but 5 for do 7 damage to everyone, what’s the point. Overcost.
It sure has 7 power all right. Way too expensive for what you get. The creature type and art are fun though.
Definitely playable in battlecruiser, a mana dork for 3 isn’t bad, it’s a 1/2 with partner, and card draw for putting out big fatties. Outside of that, this really has no place in high power or competitive.
Remember when one of green’s things was that it struggled to draw cards? Yeah, Wizards doesn’t either. Doesn’t need to be flashy here, just quietly doing the two best things to be doing in commander (ramping and drawing cards) while also attached to a relevant creature type.
Theoretically this card could be part of a bomb combo, but you’d need creatures to keep entering play and to keep generating mana, and there are so many better ways to win once you have infinite mana. The control aspect of paying 2 to ping when you drop a creature could be pretty good, but it really slows you down. If it could target players at least you could kill people this way. As I recall this was one of the first cards spoiled for the set, and I’m not sure why. It’s a mediocre partner. The obvious combo is so obvious and bad I’m not even going to talk about it.
Hey, remember when one of green’s things was that it couldn’t really remove creatures outside of fighting them? Yeah, Wizards doesn’t either. Repeatable creature removal is great, and you’re in green so you have both the creatures big enough to get the job done and the mana ramp to pay for it.
Treasures are artifacts so, this has the potential to be “a thing” but for 5 mana that’s a long way to go for a 1/1. Now if you want to get oldschool you could drop an obsianius golem, in which case I’d scoop out of respect for keeping it real. There are some good golems, like Gingerbrute and Walking Archive, Lodestone Golem, Solemn Simulacrum, Voltaic Construct, et al.. but golems are all over the map in terms of their abilities and their costs. Green is usually aginst artifacts, not for them, so it’s really weird to see this in green and not blue or red.
If you were looking for a commander for your Golem/Splicer tribal deck, here it is at last! There’s probably one person out there excitedly digging their foil Precursor Golem out for the deck they always had an idea for. Ways exist to loop artifact recursion infinitely so maybe that’s something you want to do but it seems like a lot of work to do for not a great win condition.
I think you’re expecting me to say this is overcost, and it sort of is, but it’s a game ender, and a mana dump, and green can definitely generate mana, a lot of mana, and druids, it generates mana via druids, and the idea of a druid deck is actually pretty exciting to me. I’m not sure I’d run this as a commander, though I suppose you could basically keep him in the command zone until you have infinite mana and dump him into play and go to combat after making all your lands walk.
This is another interesting one. Kamahl is a well established character in the older lore, and even has a great, game ending version in Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, which this card is obviously calling back to. Unfortunately, I think the new version is worse. The original is great because with a ton of mana you can activate the Overrun effect multiple times to crash through and close out the game, and since his ability to animate can target any land you can use it either offensively or politically to threaten to turn all of your opponents land into creatures if they try to boardwipe you. The new card costs more to cast, only gives you one Overrun activation, and has a better for you but less utilitarian animate ability. This is better for a deck built around animating lands, and worse everywhere else.
I think this is the worst one of the wills, and 4 to remove a creature is crap, 4 to turn your creatures into man lands is cool, but there’s little synergy with the second mode. This is potentially a game winner, so that’s worth saying, but I genuinely don’t know why you can’t choose a player for the second mode and just blow someone out of the game with your creatures.
Being able to flex between making a bunch of surprise creatures and creature removal is solid. A lot of these kinds of cards don’t make your lands indestructible which makes them mostly worthless unless you’re ending the game, so it’s nice that this does.
This is a cool card and has a lot of potential. 6 Mana is a huge amount though, so it’ll struggle to get going. Nonetheless lands are permanents with relatively low mana cost, and there are an increasingly large number of powerful landfall effects. It’s worth noting this is an ETB trigger, not a cast trigger, so it’ll work off flicker effects, and if you are running a bunch of cascade cards this could potentially lead to some hilariousness. With Tayova and Aeries around this could lead to some craziness.
Whooo boy. One of the most powerful things you can do in Magic is cheat mana costs, and this does it in a big way. It does it for any permanent type which is very useful, and it lets you put in things with EQUAL cost not just lesser so this doesn’t have diminishing returns. Kodama is built perfectly to enable Animar, Soul of Elements and Cloudstone Curio style shenanigans if you want, or just accrue insane amounts of value. Absolutely a kill on sight for your opponents.
This is part of a cycle? Supercycle? Epicycle? of cards that are wizards and then replicate a spell effect. Putting a green creature into play directly is pretty cool though, there are some huge green fatties with massive ETB effects that are worth tutoring for, but 4 mana to get a tutor into play, then sacrifice it and another creature to go get something means you better win the game off of it.
A fantastic tutor effect that puts the card you searched for directly in to play so you don’t have to risk letting your opponents know it is coming and hold up countermagic. Usually this is going to be functionally a second copy of your Craterhoof Behemoth or other, similar finisher.
Most cards with cascade are sorcery speed cards, and so this has some potential but 5 mana to destroy an artifact or enchantment is a lot. If you can use it to cheat out a permanent on top of your deck, after say a worldly tutor, that is definitely powerful, but you’re looking at 6 mana for that combo.
Maaaaaybe this makes it in to cascade decks to offer removal while continuing your chain, but 5 is a lot to pay for destroying a single artifact or enchantment.
This is a strong commander, not so much for attacking, but because there are elves that tap for mana equal to their power, so distributing a bunch of +1/+1s has the potential to generate you infinite mana. His ability is triggered so it doesn’t require tapping, so the lack of haste is irrelevant. I think this is definitely playable, both as a commander and as part of a deck built around generating infinite mana off dorks, and should be everywhere in elf tribal decks, which are probably one of the strongest tribes for tribal decks at this point.
It’s expensive to get enough counters to matter, but you are in Elves so……maybe? I think you can get this more efficiently elsewhere though.
Definitely this card is hilarious and can do things like generate not quite infinite scute swarms which is a pretty cool. It’s part of the cycle of 9 cost big haymaker spells, and costs 3 colored mana, I think these spells are obviously intended for battlecruiser, and I can’t wait to see the tears when someone reacts to Reshape the Earth with Opposition Agent.
The rate per land is great if you can get there, and green decks are obviously in the best position to ramp up to actually be able to cast it. Good in lands matters decks like Omnath, Locus of Rage or something using Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle as a win condition, not worth it in just any green deck. This is still a 9 mana spell and everything we have said previously about wanting something that expensive to end the game still applies here.
I think this card seems good but isnt. It’s group hug crap. You could potentially benefit more off of it then your opponents, but givin away resources is always dangerous. The only way you could really get mileage out of this spell is if you are playing heavy landfall, but since Rootweaver Druid is a may, unless your opponents are bad, they aren’t going to give you lands and landfall triggers.
Weird group hug style ramp that only gets basics. The reason Tempt with Discovery is so good is that it can get ANY land so that you can break the symmetry with things like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers. This doesn’t allow you to do that, and also puts you at card disadvantage. No thanks.
I don’t feel like ooze tribal is a thing, but I guess it could be, but if it was it wouldn’t be a 6 cost commander that doesn’t really do anything would it?
Slurrk is fantastically named with an interesting effect that can slot right in to any number of +1/+1 counter type decks. The biggest problem I have with effects like this is that unless you are sacrificing your own creatures or have other ways of manipulating when your creatures die, it’s much more common for all of your creatures to die at once in a boardwipe, leaving you with nowhere to put the counters. Definitely powerful if you can manipulate it.
I don’t know too many commanders who go nuts with +1/+1s so this is just another hydra.
An interesting pump spell that you can theoretically use politically. I think it will be hard pressed to make the cut in most decks.
Cascade with flash and reach and putting counters on creatures that entered the battlefield this turn are all useful abilities, but the package is too expensive. Most of the good targets for +1/+1 counters cost 2-4 so that’s a lot of mana to dump counters onto something, but as a straight value proposition this isn’t bad, just drop it to stop an attack and get the free cascade spell. Green having powerful effects occurring during other players turns are rare, so this is a welcome addition to the green color arsenal.
Finally we cascade into another solid creature. You’re going to get a decent amount of variance but this has the potential to add a huge amount of power to the board depending on where in your chain you hit it. We’ve gotten to the point where we have a large number of cards with cascade and there is something to be said for the sheer value to be had off of any card with the ability. It’s not worth including bad cards just for the trigger but fortunately I don’t think you have to.
Tomorrow: Artifacts, Colorless, and the Precons
Check back tomorrow when our review of Commander Legends continues with an examination of all the new cards added in Artifacts, Colorless, and the accompanying prebuilt decks released alongside the set. Until then, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.